FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots kicked off their October schedule with a convincing 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Sunday's household television rating of 37.6 was the highest rated Patriots game of the 2012 season and surpassed the previous high of 36.06 from the Week 3 Sunday Night Football game at Baltimore.
The Patriots have played the Broncos 15 times in the regular season since 1995 and Sunday's game saw the second highest rated game during that period. This year's game is bested only by last season's 41-23 victory at Denver in Week 15.
The game also received a household share of 63, which matched the current season-high of 63 set during the Patriots' only other home game of 2012: an 18-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. The household share of 63 means that on average 63 percent of all televisions in the Boston market during the game were tuned in to the Patriots.
The Patriots and the Broncos traded touchdowns leading to a 7-7 tie early in the second quarter. From that point on until the end of the third quarter, the Patriots took control of the game, rattling off 24 unanswered points. The Broncos rallied back with a pair of touchdown passes from Peyton Manning, but the Patriots defense stood strong and held on for the team's third win of the season. Sunday's victory puts the Patriots in first place in the AFC East and a half-game ahead of the New York Jets who will play the Houston Texans tonight on Monday Night Football.